PBC (Primary Biliary Cholangitis)

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a long term and serious disease of the liver.

The process of PBC affects the bile ducts within the liver. Bile is a liquid produced in the liver that helps your body break down fats and fatty vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in your food. The bile moves through liver, into the gallbladder, and into the small intestines through a system of ducts. Over time, the damage caused to the duct prevents the bile from draining out of the liver. This backup can cause permanent damage to the liver, eventually scarring the liver and leading to a condition known as cirrhosis. There is good news in the treatment of PBC. Most patients respond so well to treatment with a drug, known as UDCA, that the progress of the disease is stopped prior to the onset of cirrhosis.

The exact cause is unknown, but PBC is thought to be an autoimmune disease. The term autoimmune means that your bodies own immune system, designed to fight infections, begins to attack an organ or system of your body. In this case, the liver is the organ attacked. There is not an obvious link between PBC and other autoimmune disorders of the GI tract. 

Some people with PBC have no symptoms. But, when symptoms are present they can include dry skin, itching, fatigue, dry eyes and mouth, unexplained weight loss, and pain in the upper right abdomen. Because of the serious nature of PBC, it is recommended that you make frequent appointments with Dr. Islam and follow the suggested schedule for exams and monitoring.